During the past year research was conducted in all branches of modern permafrost science and engineering.


In the context of global change the Institute of the Earth Cryosphere, SB RAS, performed mathematical analysis of geothermal measurements in the upper horizons of permafrost for the entire Russian territory (A.V. Pavlov). The trend of the Arctic permafrost development was established by V.N. Konishchev`s method for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions and the different time intervals were estimated for the soils of the Kola Peninsula, Bolshezemelskaya tundra and the Lower Amur watershed (Moscow State University, Department of Geography). The lithosphere’s temperatures were generalised to a depth of 3000 m for the main geological structures of the southeastern part of the Siberian Platform. The infl uence of the deep heat fl ux on the permafrost thickness and as applied to the different geomorphologic elements was estimated (V.T. Balobaev, M.N. Gelezniak, Permafrost Institute SB RAS).

Long-term theoretical and experimental research devoted to the physics of cryogenic processes in the soils and their mathematical description were completed (J.B. Gorelik, V.S. Kolunin, Institute of the Earth Cryosphere SB RAS).

Under the leadership of E.D. Ershov and I.A. Komarov (Moscow State University, Department of Geology) a comparative analysis was performed on the surface polygonal relief of Earth and Mars. This work included the laboratory testing of the thermal and mechanical properties of the frozen soils at temperatures as low as -125oC.

Studies on the dynamics of geocryological conditions under the impact of human activities continued at several institutions. At the Research Institute of Bases and Underground Structures new approaches were offered for the causes of topographic relief. Among other measures groundice barriers are considered to regulate runoff and groundwater fl ows. Year-round thermo-electric cooling devices were designed and tested under industrial conditions (Fundamentproject). Thermal and seismic-acoustic properties of socalled ´oil-ground´ were studied (E.D. Ershov, Y.D. Zikov, Moscow State University, Department of Geology).

The investigation of the interaction between ocean and coastal permafrost continued by the German-Russian group of researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute (Potsdam), the Permafrost Institute (Yakutsk) and Moscow State University (Division of Geocryology). Based on the observational data, the balance of mineral and organic sediments for the Laptev and Eastern Siberian seas were evaluated as was the impact of the coastal cryogenic processes on the carbon system of the Eastern Siberian Sea. Some regularities were established in relation to thermokarst dynamics on the Laptev Sea shelf and coastline during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene (H. Hubberten, N. Romanovskii et al.).

The Production and Research Institute for Engineering Construction Survey, Moscow State University, and the Fundamentproject conducted widespread engineeringgeocryo-logical and eco logical investigations in the territories of the oil and gas fi elds and along roadways and pipelines. As a result, the series of engineeringgeocryological maps were developed and the geocryological prognoses prepared taking into account technogenic impact and climate changes.

The first issue of ‘Basic sources of information in the area of engineeringgeocryology, glaciology and ice-techniques’ was prepared. This project consists of a compilation of more than 1600 sources: monographs, textbooks, articles, maps, dissertations and standardnormative documents. An electronic version is under development.

Publication of the journal ´Earth Cryosphere´ continued in Russian as the main source for current publication of Russian permafrost research. The first issue in English is in preparation. The International Conference on Extreme Cryosphere Phenomena: Theoretical and Applied Aspects was held in Pushchino, 13-15 May, 2002. A total of 137 reports were submitted by researchers from Canada, China, Finland, Germany, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States and several other countries with 160 scientists and engineers present. Reports were presented and discussed in the following sessions: geocryological mapping and forecasting (co-chairs: V. Baulin, D. Drozdov, E. Melnikov), coastal dynamics of Arctic Seas (co-chairs: F. Are, A. Vasil’ev, V. Rachold, N. Romanovsky), cryogenic physical-geological processes and phenomena (co-chairs: V. Konishchev, V. Solomatin), natural and technogenic hazards in the cryolithozone (co-chairs: M. Minkin, L. Khrustalev), response of the ryolithozone to climate changes and anthropogenic impact (co-chairs: A. Pavlov, V. Romanovsky) and physics and mechanics of extreme phenomena in the cryolithozone (cochairs: S. Grechishchev, V. Romanovsky). Roundtable discussions were held to review the current activities under the international monitoring programmes CALM and GTN-P. The number of the attendees and presentations set a new level of participation with an increased involvement of the young researchers.

The Fifth International Symposium on Permafrost Engineering was held in Yakutsk, 2-5 September. It was sponsored by the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian Fund of Basic Research, the Government of Sakha Republic, the companies ‘Yakutia Railroads’ and ‘Geotechnology’. Participants from China, Japan, Norway, Russia and United States presented 87 papers that were discussed in the following sessions: physics and mechanics of the frozen ground, problems of building and maintaining construction in the cryolithozone, geocryological aspects of mining, road construction. Following the symposium a fi ve-day excursion took place to observe local features of mining operations, building and maintenance of the roads, and other engineering structures under permafrost conditions. During the meetings it frequently was emphasized that permafrost engineering must be consistent with the priorities of geocryology, as well as the activities of the IPA.

The following monographs were published during the past year (all in Russian):

Dubikov G.I. 2002. Composition and cryogenic structures of permafrost in Western Siberia. Moscow, GEOS, 246 p.

Gorelik J.B. and Kolunin V.S. 2002. Physics and modeling of cryogenic processes in lithosphere. SB RAS, GEOS, 262 p.

Kuzmin G.P. 2002. Underground constructions in the cryolithozone. Novosibirsk, Nauka, 176 p.

Shepelev V.V., Boytsov A.V. and Oberman N.G. 2002. Monitoring groundwater of the cryolithozone. Permafrost Institute, SB RAS, Yakutsk, 172 p.

Makarov V.N. 2002. Lead in the biosphere of Yakutiya. Permafrost Institute, SB RAS, Yakutsk, 114 p.

Melnikov, E.S and Grechishchev, S.E. (eds.) 2002. Permafrost and oil & gas development. Moscow GEOS. (Available from Russian Scientifi c Council of Earth Cryology, 200 rubles).

Roman L.T. 2002. Frozen soils mechanics. Moscow, Nauka/Interperiodika, 426.

V. Melnikov (melnikov@ikz.ru)